Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The skin of my neck

Today's visit to the radiation oncologist may literally save the skin on my neck ! My radiation treatment is coming to an end - finally, and it will change. One of the doctors came in to do additional artwork on my chest. I think that instead of the six positions that I have had the radiation treatment, there will be just one or two. The therapists attached a new device to the ray of death machine that looks like it will deliver radiation just to the place where my masectomy scar is. They attached a plastic box on the end. My chest has a large rectangle that is divided into two parts. I think that will help my neck and underarm. They will not be the direct target of the rays.

This is such good news. A patch of skin on the right side of my neck is angry red, and it is beginning to be really painful. I was telling G last night that I was finally glad the masectomy left numbness under my right arm. It is past angry red. It is purple! I have enough feeling to get the idea it would really be hurting if there were feeling.

At least the end is near! That is such good news!

Sunday, August 26, 2007


The day has finally come! I have ten more treatments. Friday they wanted me to wait to see the doctor so he could do another drawing on my to mark the area they will be intensifying treatment on here at the end. I thought the six tatoos would be enough for them to zap me, but I have had a drawing on my upper right chest for twenty three treatments now. Plus, I get x rayed every treatment to determine position. But the end is truely in sight! Yea!

Today I was reading one of our local columinist in the paper who was talking about his habit this time of year to write about the temperature. He decided that he did not need to go outside to remember his eighty plus summers. He got me to reflecting on last weekend with Lady Bug.

We went to Wide Spot's community club dinner and meeting, which was really the ice cream social. The county's newpaper owner/editor was the speaker, so we all went. About the time he was finishing his talk, Lady Bug came up to me to complain about the heat since the building in which we meet is not air conditioned. She was hot, and at the very least she wanted to go to the car to sit in the air conditioning.

She got me to thinking about my own youth. We didn't have air conditioning either in the house or car until I was eighteen years old. What we had for the summer months was an evaporative cooler. Now these apparently work wonders in fat west Texas and other dry locals, but San Antonio was only a bit less humid than here in Houston. I remember shoes that were not worn much in the closet molding. Now, people completely freak out about mold. We had it every summer!

Several years ago, I had some small precancerous growths burned off my left cheek. The dermatologist said they were probably from the days of cars not being air conditioned. I think this is true. I was even older before we got an air conditioned car.

Lady Bug did not even try to comprehend these facts. I will agree it was very unusual for Wide Spot to have the heat with the humidity that we had that night. Perhaps the fact there had been a ten inch rain in the area accounted for the humidity! She didn't care. She wanted out of it, and didn't care a flip about my early life when such things were normal. She went to her dad - who turned on the car's a/c!

Such are our children today,

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Will it be worth it all?

My mother died of metastic melonoma 34 ago. At that time, I swore if I ever was diagnosed with cancer I would not do anything about it. I would not have surgery and certainly not have any therapies.

My decision probably came from the fact that after her surgery, the surgeon stated that for the most part her lymph nodes were clear. It is true that there were no other therapies done for her because there was nothing that was successful with melanoma. But within five years she was dead.

I thought there was no reason to go through such destructive and mutilating surgeries. Her cancer was on the top of the outer ear, so she had the ear removed. If you were mutilated so and die so soon, why do it.

And when I found the lump, I opted for surgery. The first one was a breeze. I was thrilled that we could just remove the lump and save the breast. Then the pathology report came back with the news that there were no clear edges.

That didn’t sway me. I said to remove the breast, and I even asked if the other one also should be removed. There wasn’t a glimmer of my past resolve present. I probably had a better feeling about it all then than I do now, but there is no going back.

I suppose that is the real reason that I don’t seem to face the fact that I have cancer. Intellectually I know I have cancer, but emotionally I tend to look at all of the ensuing treatments as just other medical procedures. I think I am looking at the cancer as some other ongoing medical condition.

It’s strange that these thoughts would occur to me now. I am two thirds complete with the radiation. In a few more weeks, I will have another PET/CAT scan. I am expecting to find that it will be clear. I wonder why I am thinking about my stand when my mother was diagnosed.
Things are getting better. Not only am I almost free of treatments (I hope), but my eye brows are back, and the eyelashes and hair are returning. I am looking forward to having reconstruction. I really have weathered all of this pretty well. But I still remember the past decision - just leave me alone, no intervention.

I hope I will be able to say that all this was worth it.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The countdown

After today's treatment, things will be on the down slope. Today marks treatment number 17. That means 16 more. Or at least I hope so. I was sent to the lab to donate more blood for a CBC yesterday. So was the older gentleman who gets his treatment before me. His wife told me he was in week six. I told her that was wonderful - they would be completed soon. She told me that they were told they had about 26 more treatments to go - another 5 weeks. Oh how I hope that is not me!

I am going to have to tell the doctor that I am noticing pain right now. It seems after a couple of treatments (after the weekend), the area feels really tight, and if I strain to much, it hurts! I hope that it normal. So far the real discoloration hasn't been too much. After the weekend rest and cortisone lotion, I was back to almost normal coloring. Not so much today. I am fairly red even though I do put the lotion on at night.

I'll have a longer break from it this weekend, It is SSB time, I find myself really looking forward to the break from treatments and the like as well as the slower pace of life up there. It's supposed to rain. That's ok. I plan to chill - even with the three grandchildren running around.

Oh, and I will be away from the weather people here who are absolutely beside themselves, We have a disturbance in the Gulf that will probably become (hold your breath) a TROPICAL STORM. And they are doing their dead level best to dry to turn the hurricane, Dean, into the Gulf and into Swampland. Oh my. By Tuesday I'm sure they will postiively be foaming at the mouth. I'll want to leave again!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Bad days

Right after the results of my biopsy, I remember my surgeon telling me that I would have good days and bad days. I was naive enough to believe that he meant that some days I would be much sicker than others. SInce I weathered the chemo so well, I assumed he was wrong,

Today, I think I more understand what he meant. I have not slept well in two nights. I am really exhausted. We had the kids here last night, and that always puts a little strain on things. G decided that since the oil in Ol' Blue had not been changed in eight months, and since it had reached 3000 miles, it had to be done today. That entails getting up at the regular time so that we can get it to the shop by 7 A.M. That was done.

I left home at 11:15 to go to the radiation therapy appointment, even though I knew it would mean that I would be there at 11:30 for my 11:45 appointment. When I walked in and saw that the wife of one of the men who is ahead of me was still sitting there, I knew they were running late - again.

I finally got in about 12:45. It seemed that they were taking forever to get me situated. They take x-rays each and every time to insure alignment, With the arthritis in my shoulders, it is painful and almost impossible for me to hold the elbow tight against my body. That is exactly what I have to do, or the machines hit me. My hand became numb, but the deep nerves were sending a signal of pain in my thimb. I don't understand why they cannot use the little tatoos and other marks that are on my body that are there for that purpose.

Anyway. I had already called G to let him know they were running late because he had a doctor's appointment at 2. He was frantic that he would have to take the green monster because my car wouldn't be back, and he left the other truck in the shop.

They got me out and I was able to make it home fifteen minutes before he was to leave. I am even more exhausted. He calls the shop - the truck it ready - he has eaten lunch and been around here for over an hour - and wants me to take him to get the truck right THEN so he could take it for the appointment.

I had just barely sat down. I couldn't believe this. I really was very upset with him then, in fact I'm not too thrilled with him right now.

So now I know the bad days have nothing to do with nausea. They are just flat out bad days!

Friday, August 10, 2007

This and that

Well, I am still limping along utilizing someone's unsecured WiFi. I wish I knew who, but thanks a lot!

Today is our 39th anniversary. Sometimes I'm amazed that we made it this long. Guess we were too lazy to seek a divorce! Just kidding, but it is amazing all the same.

If things go right, I only have 20 more radiation treatments. I will really be so glad. It's a real drag going every day, but now most days they are running an hour behind. I surely don't get there early with the hopes of getting in early any more. The therapists are always so apologetic, and I know they are doing the best they can, but it really gets old!

I was wondering when the burn would happen. Well, I wonder no more! Now my wonder is how bad it will get. At least there is something to keep my interest in this procedure :).

It's almost time to get ready to go (and sit!). I need to disconnect my modem to exchange it. That is the last thing I can do to try to correct my connection woes.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

I'm back!!

Finally I am back. So far the radiation is going well, no burned skin or anything at all.

So why have I been away. Computer problems! My laptop is very finiky. The least little thing sends her into a mood where she won't cooperate. THIS time, I closed her lid too soon. She had not completed shutting down, and I closed her lid. So to show me who's boss, she wouldn't show anything on the screen after the prompt to ru n BIOS.

I finally got her to the clinic, and now, $64 later, she is working, but I'm not sure about my internet connection.

The internet connection may be the real problem with the desk top. That one worked like a charm (even though the monitor had to be placed on its right side so I didn't have to get a crick in my neck) for one day. The next, I couldn't access the internet. I checked the computer. I unplugged the modem. I took the router out of the system. I changed cables. My next thing is to (groan) go to Comcast to change out the modem and pray that is the problem.

I have a nagging doubt that there is anything wrong with anything that is in my house. I really believe since we have changed from Warner to Comcast that Comcast is in a snit about the deal of the re-seller I use to access the internet. Although there may be something wrong with the cable.

I can usually get onto my neighbor's Wi-Fi, but I don't think I can today. Both mine and theirs shows a connection, but I can't get on line. I have found another unsecured neighborhood connection that is so weak I imagine I'll lose it at any moment.

But that's my story. If it weren't for computer problems, I would have so much more time!